Sen. Cassidy: Medicare, Social Security Are Driving the Federal Debt, Closing a Federal Department Would Not Have a ‘Meaningful Impact’

By Liam Sigler | June 19, 2019 | 11:43am EDT
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.)

( -- When asked whether there was any federal agency or department he would eliminate to help reduce spending and the deficit, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) did not cite one and stressed that Medicare and Social Security drive federal spending. He added that eliminating a department would not make much of a “meaningful impact upon the debt and deficit.”

At the Capitol on Tuesday, asked Sen. Cassidy, “The federal government spent a record $3 trillion dollars in the first eight months of the fiscal year and ran a deficit of $738 billion dollars. Is there a federal agency or department that you would eliminate, and if so, what is it?”

Sen. Cassidy replied, “So, the issue of the deficit -- you kind of changed the question. If your question is, ‘Are we concerned about the debt and deficit?’ It is important to understand what is driving that. And what is driving that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, are the spending on Medicare and Social Security.”

“Ten-thousand baby boomers a day go into Medicare and Social Security. And so that's really, if you're going to address the debt -- and you cannot eliminate those” agencies, he said.  “Now there may be another department which you wish to eliminate but that would be more because you wish to eliminate that department than you would make a meaningful impact upon the debt and deficit, if that makes sense?"

The $3 trillion-plus that the federal government spent in October through May of fiscal year 2019 was over $181 billion more than the previous record of $2,832,383,080,000 (in constant May 2019 dollars) that the federal government spent in October through May of fiscal year 2009, reported on June 12.


Most of the spending was through the Department of Health and Human Services; in second place was the Social Security Administration; and in third place was the Defense Department. Health care (Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Affairs) and Social Security consume the biggest amount of federal revenue.

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